Last week my 1998 Acura CL 3.0 accelerated out of control. I have driven this car for years without any problems. I parked in a business parking lot, backed out of the parking space and barely touched the gas. I know I barely tap the gas because I was coming out of the parking lot to stop sign. As soon as I tapped the gas, the car surged forward at full speed.
The problem of sudden acceleration in modern cars, initially blamed by Toyota on floormats interfering with gas pedals, isn’t likely to go away soon. And it seems to be an issue with many other manufacturers’ cars and trucks, not just Toyotas.
Attorney Tom Murray of the law firm Murray & Murray in Ohio says he’s personally handling 20 cases of sudden acceleration, and he claims that 100,000 incidents may have occurred. He maintains that the problem, inherent to all modern throttle-by-wire automobiles, is electromagnetic interference with electronic accelerator controls.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has repeatedly investigated without confirming that diagnosis, but Clarence Ditlow, the longtime director of the Center for Auto Safety, says automakers have long sought to blame drivers for this problem, and NHTSA has supported that view. I’m not presuming to know what causes sudden acceleration, but it is hard to deny so many detailed reports. Do all these people have sketchy floormats? Do note that the last eyewitness report here confirms the floormat was at fault.
Here are excerpts some other dramatic stories emailed in by MNN and New Mass Media readers after I posted my email address. Please do submit your own stories to email@example.com:
My girlfriend…was going about 45 miles per hour when the Explorer accelerated to 70-80 miles per hour. She pressed the brakes as hard as she could. When they didn’t work, she pressed the emergency brake, which slowed the car down a bit but did not stop it. The car traveled several hundred yards before she decided to drive it off the shoulder rather than rear ending the cars in front of her. The car was wrecked pretty badly. This is the second time the Explorer did this…
I have a 2008 Camry LE, bought brand new in November 2007. I experienced unintended acceleration on my way to work, on Thursday January 24, 2009 riding in rush-hour traffic on a major highway. The car started accelerating on it's own and forcing the brake pedal down and pumping it wouldn't stop it. After about 5 minutes it settled down and went at regular speed.
I purchased a Honda CRV new April 2003 and experienced an initial episode of sudden acceleration in September 2004 at about 14K miles. The first episode was when traveling at a constant speed on the Mass Pike; it seemed like a brief acceleration as if I had cruise control on…Then I had a particularly hair-raising incident while driving in traffic through town (stomping on the brake pad, pulling the e-brake, getting the transmission into neutral) in February 2005. After going home to change my pants I drove the vehicle directly to the local Honda dealer and described the problem.
I had a problem with sudden acceleration in my 2008 Ford F150 pickup. I took my foot off the gas petal in order to slow down, and the truck started to accelerate on its own while coasting. I called the Ford dealer’s repair service and was told “to keep an eye on it” since there were no other complaints concerning F150 pickups. It only happened once but I feel uncomfortable driving in it. I honestly feel that they should have offered to look at the vehicle.
I own a 2005 Toyota Tacoma. It is my daily driver and my husband drives it on occasion. We have both experienced the truck surge in RPMs while sitting at a stoplight. The truck feels like it wants to take off on its own. We both responded with pressing harder on the brakes.
08 Toyota Tundra. Mass Pike. 60 mph suddenly increases to around 90 mph. I was lucky that there were no other cars in front of me. I soon realized that the floormat had pinned the gas pedal. I pulled the mat back and the pedal was free. Scary experience.
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